Say hello to Maliaka Shepard, our new Senior Communications & Outreach Officer. Maliaka will play a critical role in supporting the Friends’ cross–channel communications and community outreach.

Maliaka is a resident with deep roots in the Boston community. She hails from three generations of successful women and civic leaders in Boston: Florence R. LeSueur, the first woman to be named president of any NAACP chapter in the nation, and a founding member of METCO; Betty Wornum, Founder of Roxbury Community Health Center, healthcare advocate, and recipient of the Sojourner Truth award; and Vivian C. Beard, who served as Special Assistant to former United States Senator Edward W. Brooke and in senior policy making positions for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for over two decades, including two gubernatorial appointments. All three women are currently featured as part of the Black Women Lead Project, honoring 212 of Boston’s most admired, beloved, and successful Black Women leaders stretching two miles along Blue Hill Avenue. It is the largest public art project in the city. “I am lifted by the contributions of all these incredible women,” said Maliaka Shepard, Senior Communications & Outreach Officer.  

As a talented communications professional and experienced strategic planner, Maliaka will play a critical role in supporting the Friends’ communications across all channels and community outreach within the City of Boston and beyond. Maliaka will work closely with the Development and Parks Care teams, uplifting the many stories of the three parks and making them more accessible and welcoming places for everyone to visit and enjoy. 

“We are delighted to have Maliaka join the Friends of the Public Garden team and look forward to seeing the impact of her talents and efforts, which will be critical in engaging the larger community to experience and support the Common, Garden, and Mall,“ said Friends of the Public Garden President Liz Vizza. “Maliaka has an impressive history of creating and implementing the kinds of engaging and inspiring events and activities that we rely on to make our parks more inviting and interactive, and we look forward to the ideas and innovations she will bring to engaging the public and communicating our message about the vital role these parks play in the life of our city.”

Maliaka most recently served as the Director of Strategic Planning and Special Projects at the Museum of African American History in Boston. In this role, she oversaw the marketing and external relations department, where she oversaw the strategic communications planning, member relations, digital communications, integrated media relations, public programs, and marketing among other responsibilities. Prior to her time at the Museum of African American History, Maliaka served as the Associate Director of Laboratory Management at Massachusetts Bay Community College where she oversaw the operations and administration of the science laboratories, college wide. Maliaka is an Emerson College Alum is currently working towards her MBA at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Isenberg School of Business.

“These world-class historic greenspaces are an amazing resource to our city, its residents, and visitors,” said Maliaka. “I am excited to join the Friends of the Public Garden team and continue the vital work of preserving, enhancing, and activating these greenspaces and lifting other greenspaces throughout the city. My experience collaborating with diverse communities to preserve and celebrate their unique histories and cultures will be beneficial in promoting the three parks, which are critical to the city, and health and well-being of Boston’s residents and beyond. It’s a privilege to support how people experience these spaces. I am committed to ensuring they remain cherished, enjoyed, and accessible.”